This was the big news I was dying to tell you guys before it released in the media.
Thank you to all media who featured us!
Dean and I have been trying to raise funds for FashionValet for over a year now, to grow and expand externally and internally. We had the RM1 million injection in 2012 by MyEG when we won the Make The Pitch reality show on TV, but we were now ready for a bigger Series A funding. We knew that our parents would loan us money in a heartbeat to help us out, but Dean and I wanted more than money; we wanted a strategic partner that could offer us knowledge, expertise, contacts and possible avenues we could tap on for synergy. So we researched a bunch of grants, loan institutions, banks and VCs.
We couldn’t get grants because we were no longer a startup (requirement for startup is 3 years and below, so if your business is less than 3 years, GO AND GET A GRANT NOW). We couldn’t get bank loans because we have no assets such as property and banks were so hard to convince because not a lot of them understand the potential of the e-commerce industry. VCs were the obvious choice for us. There aren’t a lot of VCs in Malaysia, so we looked everywhere, even as far as the US. Dean prepared the lengthy presentation of budget, projections, business plans, the whole works. He had sleepless nights working on this, but oh the rejections we received… it was really tough and I can see how easy it is for people to give up if they don’t persevere. I still remember a time when we dropped everything when we got a callback from a Singaporean VC (who btw invested in our competitor and was probably just fishing for info from us about FV), got so excited to pitch, thought it went well, then as soon as we touched down in KL we received the rejection email. We both sat quietly, defeated, and thinking what on earth did we do wrong?!
Dean and I were each other’s rocks and everytime we got rejected, we would look back at our strategies and think how to improve it. We started the business with RM50,000 each, and we’ve managed to build a business worth tens of millions, and they didn’t want to invest in us?! – we got cocky thinking we could do no wrong. So I’d say the rejections were much needed to give us a wake-up call. Like a smack in the face forcing us to relook into our strategies. We found loopholes and we improved them. We allowed ourselves to be sad for a few hours or so, but then, time’s up – gotta smack ourselves on the bum and start again.
It was a steep learning curve. And a very valuable one.
Finally, we met a VC that we felt was just right. And had the same ambitious vision we had. From Silicon Valley, the technology melting pot housing corporations like Apple, Facebook and Google. It really was a dream come true when they wanted to invest in FV. And FV and I will forever be grateful to Dean who took the burden upon himself alone when I got pregnant with Mariam. He did it all by himself, my heroic husband.
This funding is awesome of course, but it also means huge pressure to succeed. So you can bet that Dean and I aren’t going to stop working hard to reach our targets and beyond. There are still so many things we want to improve on.
Today, we officially started operations in our Jakarta office.
We have a team there handling everything from A to Z under Dean’s leadership, and I’m so excited to see them grow. Seeing the updates from today’s first ever photoshoot in FV Indonesia, I honestly felt like crying. So many mixed feelings; happy, excited, nostalgic, sad to not be there… so many! I’m so so proud of FV and our whole team. The thrill of enjoying the ups and learning from the downs, I am loving every bit of this journey.
Alhamdulillah for everything.